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Dating, and the questions I have(Looking for suggestions)

I was raised in a frum home, with a frum education and have always tried to be the “good boy”. I always tried to do what was right and took what I was told as answers. While I wasn’t raised blindly to the world around me, a thing I remember was my rebellion was sneaking into the computer room at night and watching “Avatar The last Airbender”. Over my schooling, I wasn’t ever trying to find flaws with the system, I would just ask questions on things learned and never got answers I felt were satisfactory but I just chalked it up to the fact that my Hebrew ability is awful and I was just missing something.

I think that the turning point for me was when I went with my family on a mixed camping trip around the age of 23. This was the first time I had time to spend with girls who I got to talk to not from an outsider of a group, but rather like a friend who I could just talk to as a person. To put it bluntly, it felt good….like not in an inappropriate way, but more just like a feeling of being at ease with just being myself. It wasn’t like a sudden shift, but I would spend time with this group just chatting as friends. It only lasted a few weeks, as my mentor told me that it was bad for shidduchim but I miss those times. It was at that time that I started to question, is this really the place I want to be, is this really the life I want to live. I never had that thing where I became a rebel, but I have started to question the basis of Judaism for which I live. I realized that my education told me what to do, it taught me how to do it, it taught me what things might be issues and helped me try to think of how to do it and satisfied in a way the aspect of my need for a logical challenge that I’ve always loved. The one thing though I now realize, it never really approached the idea of the fundamental background behind religion. I have been spending time, over the past 2 years or so trying to figure this aspect out, and while I find some good answers, I never find the answers that truly satisfy me.

These questions arise from things like: Does God really exist? If God exists, at what capacity is God. Is he really an infinite being? If God is Infinite, why does he care about us, and what does it really mean that he cares about us? If God cares about us, why should I care about God? I feel the reason I care about something is the fact that they have limited capacity, and yet they focus on me. This fact makes them valuable to me. Even if I care about the fact that God cares, why should I focus my life on him? Shouldn’t I just try to be a good person, and make things better for those around me?

These are just some of the questions that I raise internally, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I have been spending hours a day trying to catch up on the world around me, the politics, the past, and the methods people build to live around it. I try my best to learn, though rebbeim, scholars and listening to what people have to say about things that they feel are logically or morally wrong. These things sometimes go contrary to what I learn in the Torah about what is right or wrong and makes me struggle with my faith. I sometimes try to talk to people about these ideas that I have, but they take them as blasphemy and don’t even take time to consider that some parts of it might be right.

From the outside, I seem to be a good Jew, with my beard, my suit and hat on shabbos, my yamaka and tzitzit that I keep out. Yes, I do wear a sweatshirt to shul during the week and have styled my hair with a choup but I don’t think people see this as a rebellion, more as a way of just expressing myself. I have never really had a struggle with most mitzvos, I have always kept shabbos, kosher, have never missed a day of tefillin since my Bar Mitzvah and give 20% of my income to charity. These are things that I don’t really find as bothersome, or just match with my internal compass of wanting to be someone who is good. This can further be pointed out that the direction by the fact that I don’t curse, smoke, I’ve never had drugs or gotten drunk in a place that I felt could cause any harm. There are things now that worry me about my yiddishkite, over this past Simchas Torah I felt nothing, I tried to dance but my heart was not in it so I just went out of the group and talked with the people outside. I have listened to ferbrangin and the questions I have that I can’t ask on the topics they discussed bother me so much that I just stopped attending. My biggest concern though is about the aspect of shidduchim. I don’t know where my ideas will lead me and have no idea where I would want to send my kids. I worry about this, I don’t want to be misleading anyone, but I feel that these ideas are a big turn off for any shadchanim I might tell. I am now 26, and while I do know that’s not necessarily old I feel that it’s at an age where I should start to get worried if I will find someone or that these questions will persist and I’ll live my life as a bachelor.

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